Scottish mother wants ‘stronger’ cannabis oil for her son

Karen Gray at the Sick Kids with her son Murray Gray, 5, who is suffering from a rare form of epilepsy. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Karen Gray at the Sick Kids with her son Murray Gray, 5, who is suffering from a rare form of epilepsy. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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The mother of a six-year-old boy believed to be the first child in Scotland prescribed cannabidiol for his epilepsy is now calling for her son to be given a stronger version of the drug.

Karen Gray wants the Scottish Government to allow Murray access to oil from the whole cannabis plant which contains the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the principal psychoactive part of the drug.

Mrs Gray was part of a campaign group who successfully petitioned Downing Street after gathering over 230,000 signatures.

The move triggered a parliamentary debate that led Home Secretary Sajid David to perform a dramatic change to UK law which allowed cannabis-based products made available for medicinal use only in Scotland, England and 
Wales.

It followed other high-profile cases like Murray’s including that of young epilepsy sufferers Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell, whose conditions appeared to be helped by cannabis oil.

Karen says the Epidiolex a form of cannabidiol (CBD) has helped reduce the length of Murray’s myoclonic astatic epilepsy but is not strong enough to prevent his seizures.

She believes the amount of THC in the whole plant, which would be administered as oral drops, would not leave her son feeling high but this goes against The British Paediatric Neurology Association guidelines that say the chemical is damaging to the developing brain.

Mrs Gray said Murray, a P2 pupil at Clermiston Primary School in Edinburgh, suffered a bout of tonsillitis on a visit to Center Parcs last week that brought back his seizures and landed him in the children’s ward of Carlisle Hospital.

She said: “Basically, all they can offer me is epidiolex because it’s a pharmaceutical grade product.

“They [NHS Scotland] won’t offer me whole plant cannabis oil even though it is pharmaceutically made in other countries because they say THC is damaging to the developing brain.

“I want Murray to receive whole plant oil but I want the neurologist to be on board with it.”

She added: “The epidiolex is not strong enough but without doubt it’s helped reduce the length of Murray’s seizures they’ve gone from five minutes to around one minute.

Christine Jardine Lib Dems MP for Edinburgh West said: “Whatever your view is on this, Murray’s health must come first. Of course the only sensible way around this impasse would be to make the grown up decision to totally decriminalise and regulate the cannabis market altogether.”